My top 10 Midland gigs – April 2016

Here are the 10 gigs I consider to be the most attractive/exciting/worth-a-listen this month.

Tuesday 5
Jazz at the Spotted Dog, Digbeth, Birmingham, 9pm, £5 donation

Player of the low reeds and composer Alicia Gardener-Trejo leads an exciting large band featuring many of Birmingham’s finest.

More here.

Thursday 7 – Saturday 9
Wolves Are People Too
Birmingham Hippodrome, The Patrick Centre, Birmingham, 8pm, £15

Pianist/composer David Austin Grey has collaborated with choreographer Kit Holder and illustrator Nicholas Robertson to create this multi-disciplinary jazz ballet for his band Hansu-Tori and five dancers.

More here.

Wednesday 13
Geoff Eales
Stratford Jazz, Stratford ArtsHouse, Stratford-upon-Avon, 8pm, £12

The Welsh pianist is on an extensive UK tour on the back of his new album Transcience, and comes to Stratford with a quartet including Ben Waghorn on saxophone.

More here.

Sean Gibbs

Sean Gibbs (Photo © Iza Korsak)

Friday 15
Sean Gibbs’ Mosaic
Jazzlines, Symphony Hall Cafe Bar, 5pm, Free

A new band led by the always excellent trumpeter Sean Gibbs. Helping Sean play his own compositions are Ben Lee on guitar, Andy Bunting on piano, Nick Jurd on bass and Euan Palmer on drums.

More here.

Friday 15
Deep Whole Trio
Fizzle/TDE Promotions, ORT Cafe, 8pm, £10

The free end of British jazz doesn’t get much better than the presence of saxophonist Paul Dunmall, bassist Paul Rogers and drummer Mark Sanders in close proximity.

More here.

Jean Toussaint (Photo © John Watson/

Jean Toussaint (Photo © John Watson/

Friday 15
Jean Toussaint’s Roots And Herbs
Derby Jazz, Robert Ludlum Theatre, Derby, 8pm, £15

If you missed the ex-Jazz Messenger’s tribute to his old boss, Art Blakey, when it came to Birmigham and Wolverhampton, here’s your chance. The band includes young Birmingham Conservatoire grad Daniel Casimir on bass alongside an all-star line-up which includes Jason Rebello on piano.

More here.

Friday 15
Matt Ridley Quartet
Birmingham Jazz, The Red Lion, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, 7.45pm, £12.50

The double bass player has a new album, Metta, out on Whirlwind Recordings and it features this band with Jason Yarde on saxophone, John Turville on piano and George Hart on drums.

More here.

Saturday 16
Mike Fletcher Jazz Orchestra
Jazzlines/Birmingham Conservatoire, Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham, 8pm, £12.50

The Birmingham born and bred saxophonist doesn’t get to take his big band out often enough, so they are a must-hear when he does. Featuring a new work written for the band by Scottish composer Anna Meredith. Again, expect a good showing from the city’s top players. And there should be international delegates from the Rhythm Changes conference egging them on.

More here.

Malija (Photo © John Watson/

Malija (Photo © John Watson/

Saturday 23
Jazz at the Arena, Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton, 8pm, £15

The dream trio of Mark Lockheart on saxophone, Liam Noble on piano and Jasper Høiby on bass is gorgeous on CD but even lovelier live. And it should be sublime in this intimate and acoustically excellent space.

More here.

Friday 29
Georgia Mancio’s Quadro
Birmingham Jazz, The Red Lion, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, 7.45pm, £12.50

One of the classiest singers in the country, fresh from touring with U.S. pianist Alan Broadbent, brings her new trio with Frank Harrison on piano and Andy Cleyndert on bass to Birmingham for the first time. Expect re-workings of classics from the American and Brazilian songbooks.

More here.



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